Enjoy a candid and fun conversation with legendary radio host, Christopher Carr out of Santa Cruz, California.
John and Christopher talk shop, history, old industry stories and future of this ever changing industry.
Talking Cannabis with Legendary Radio Host Christopher Carr
John Malanca 0:02
Hey everybody, John Malanca here with be informed and be well and today’s guest actually they you normally say and no disrespect to my guest here. You know you have a Facebook, you have a face for radio, but like this guy is a beautiful guy and maybe Brooklyn, Christopher bar. He hosts his radio show called The cannabis connection had a beautiful Santa Cruz, California. And a few weeks ago, he had me on his show, and I had such a wonderful conversation with him. That I said, Hey, I’d love to get you out and and share what he does. He’s, he’s also you know, people call me the pioneer in this industry. Yeah, 14 years. But I’m clearly not the Pioneer. Because there’s been a lot of people in this industry who’ve been in it a lot longer than I have, as well as Chris, if so I’ll say we’re semi pioneers, but good to have you on the show, man. Really good to see you.
Christopher Carr 0:50
Guys, thanks for having me. This is exciting.
John Malanca 0:53
look at the bright he just came back from Hawaii. So he has the aloha spirit in him. Glowing and so I’m excited for him. But cannabis connection. You know, I’ve heard about your show, even before you even had me on as a guest. So thanks for one for having having me on as guests of that a lot of fun. But you’ve seen a lot in this industry, this industry has changed. We had a lot of similarities with some of our stories, that a lot of that I’ll say newbies, and no disrespect to newbies, because hey, I learned every day as well. But names that we haven’t heard and had conversations about in a long time and stories that haven’t talked about a long time. And it brings it back like you meet up with your buddies from high school and you relive those old lives and like, wow, you were part of that. Yeah, that was it. So but tell us talk about it, you because you’re doing a lot. And you’ve done a lot in Santa Cruz. And you know, the California industry of cannabis has changed a lot over time with Prop 215. Since 1996, California had been medically legal for recreation, excuse me, for a recommendation used by doctors, and then and the most recent years, it’s 21. And over. So adult use. And so we’ve seen a lot of changes, a lot of changes, little good and bad. It’s seen a lot of great growers and stores that have been put out of business, unfortunately, due to regulations, laws, and dinero money, you know, and it costs a lot to see in this interview. People always think that this industry brings in everyone’s running around with duffel bags of cash and this and that. But it’s changed a lot. And so this is what you talk about on your show. And it’s very similar what I do here, as you know, on my platform as well, just sharing, and kind of breaking down the stigma. And but in sharing what what this industry is about, it’s not just a one size fits all plan in it. I never want to say it’s it’s the cure all, but we’ve seen a lot of success. And it might not be for you. But we’re here to share. Just throw it out there. So let let you have it man. How are you doing?
Christopher Carr 2:53
Oh, thank you again for having me on. And yeah, it’s been it’s been a wonderful calling. We’re feel very privileged to have answered the call and to find my my path and my work here in Santa Cruz. Coming here in 2008. That was that interesting time with the housing crisis. And my first exposure was the house I moved into part of the kitchen, they built out a little room. And I didn’t know until after I had moved in that there’s this fan by the window and there’s just like half the kitchens missing and they were cultivating cuttings and supplementing everybody’s income for all the neighbors that had indoor grows and we would chop our way to the top we would trim for our neighbors and a lot of those Mom and Pop grows kept everyone, you know afloat during this really tough time with real estate and the housing crisis. And that kind of transitioned into me working in Santa Cruz hydroponics and organics and servicing the medical space as an event coordinator and actually providing products for grows. At that time. We were still pretty hush hush even like, you know, 2008 were like quite a few years from the passage of Prop 215. But that stigma was was real serious and there was still a lot of this. You have a lot of fear and a lot of people getting in trouble. But that said there was a vibrant growing community in Santa Cruz being the home of the Hayes home of the skunk from like these, you know, the Blue Dream, the number one selling cultivars on the market, had the Santa Cruz haze mother and so in many ways were like the keepers of the seeds in the genetics and have been a cultural place for genetics since the since the early days. And so coming here and getting involved kind of by accident and being a part of the music community music has been a big part of my my life throughout my whole life and definitely through Santa Cruz. There was this wonderful, Inner Inner weaving of the cultures of of shows at the catalog. as my first group I moved into as a surf rock band called The Moon germs the only reason why I was able to come to Santa Cruz is a musician friend of mine was leaving on tour and was like smiling What are you doing? Do you want my room I need to fill it by the first it was around this time of year and I moved to Santa Cruz January 1 2008. And just got right into the cannabis community here had the privilege of getting like involved with the growing community into in 2010 and then come 2014 That’s when we started opening the kind of people’s collective dispensary and that was my my my deep dive into come going on 10 years professionally just working full time selling cannabis consulting patients and customers about cannabis. I was a guest like like this show I was a guest on a radio show surfskate off the lip Radio Hour and and the program director at KSC Oh radio am FM radio that’s been servicing in Santa Cruz for 75 years. Her name is Rosemary Chalmers. And she gave me a chance took a risk and put me on put on the cannabis connection on a Friday night kind of pretty, pretty nice slot 8pm on Friday nights before coast to coast with George Noory. And we had a lot of fun I did. I was on the radio every week from 2015 to the end of last year. And then just recently we’ve we’ve kind of evolved into Santa Cruz voice to this next this next chapter of bringing it to a broader audience beyond just the broadcast signal of of am 1080 and FM one to 4.1 and taking it to you know the interwebs we’re out here. It’s
John Malanca 6:41
funny you say that? Oh, I’ll go back to your grocery stores back in the day. 2008 You couldn’t go in there and say Hi, I’d like to help with cannabis. You had to say hi. I need to help with.
Christopher Carr 6:53
Yeah, yeah, it was it was silly. They were very
John Malanca 6:56
hush hush. Nope, this is not cannabis. And I remember even back in the days and on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley. You’d go to Annapurna, which was a very, very famous headshot there. And you walked in there and said anything related to cannabis out
Christopher Carr 7:14
really well. Oh, yeah. Remember, I’ve never had
John Malanca 7:19
to back. Sorry, the whistle in fake. It’s cool. Hey, there’s a lot live show. You know, but But hearing but back to the cultivars with which skunk haze. Blue Dream, which you also were judged at the Emerald Cup as well as the high time cup
Christopher Carr 7:40
as well. Right. Right. Yeah. Yeah. Big, big honor. And privilege. Yeah. Love.
John Malanca 7:44
I have to ask you this. This is one that always blew my mind. How do you actually how do you actually be a judge? I mean, I can see wine tasting. Spit it out. But how do you see be a judge try a product or culture bar. And then next thing you Oh, okay. That was good. Let me try this one. Since you since you’re already already there, so to speak. I hear what you’re
Christopher Carr 8:09
saying. Yeah. No, it is it’s a it’s a labor of love with the Emerald Cup we would have like hundreds of cultivars, but we would we would at least have weeks to complete. You know, I said we had like 12 judges representing different counties of the whole of the state of California. And you know, my my big thing was, you know, we had a rubric there is a like empirical approach to judging there is looking at the the the actual flower, you can look at the try comb under a microscope or a jeweler’s loupe. You can evaluate obviously, the terpene profile, the aroma, a lot similar to wine tasting, right, you get a pallet kind of olfactory exchange with with the nose, but also the taste is like a weighted score. And then of course, effect is a very important piece. It’s a double weighted score. But yeah, after a certain amount of, you know, after a dozen joints in a row, it’s kind of you’re already there. And that’s that’s true. And you have to like take breaks, take naps, take blocks, have some water, you know, have some CBD, we had peppercorns. We could leverage the power of the entourage effects of terpenes. Hey, Lexi, one second. We have a woodpecker right here. We get the woodpecker.
John Malanca 9:33
I actually I can’t hear it.
Christopher Carr 9:34
Okay, great. Wonderful, wonderful.
John Malanca 9:37
Offline. I’ll tell you a woodpecker story. One time It drove me nuts.
Christopher Carr 9:41
Yeah, if you take a peppercorn
John Malanca 9:45
so Yeah, can you say this because this is my audience. Can I share this all the time? Because there’s a lot of times you have patients that will say, you know, I’m too high. I don’t know what to do. And it’s like, try this. It’s like, are you nuts? I mean, you want me to take more after I’m already saying I had enough show can you share about CBD and peppercorn?
Christopher Carr 10:03
Yeah yeah well you know the beautiful thing is that there’s you know there’s the endocannabinoid system you know we have the CB one CB two receptors, but the the main effect that people are looking for when they go to a dispensary the nomenclature, the binary of indica sativa what they’re really speaking to is the chemo type the chemical profile of the flower. And lots of flowers have these The Fifth Element lifeforce, the terpenes, which is an instance in the plant kingdom, it’s when you when you eat a salad when you have a mango, it’s rich and myrcene. And so within the peppercorn has beta caryophyllene that has it can help with the intoxicated the psycho tropic effects of cannabis that high can can actually be mitigated through the terpenes and through minor cannabinoids like CBD. And like I also said, there’s there are ways to kind of reset your body with food and exercise and kind of especially giving yourself time you have a 700 of the best cannabis, you know, 700 entries to quit. How do you find the best one? It took it takes weeks. I mean, it’s around this time of year every year. This is the first year they’re not doing the the Emerald Cup in Santa Rosa. But it’s been a an amazing journey, labor of love. And when I graduated college, I was a UCSD community studies major. I did a internship with a nonprofit growing up wild we were doing outdoor education for at risk youth in Watsonville. And also working with some at risk youth in Oakland. And you know, bringing those boys out into the into the wilderness of the Santa Cruz Mountains are Big Sur and I wrote a capstone thesis I finished a little early. And that’s when High Times gave me the opportunity to judge the US cup one of the last High Times you asked cups in Denver and I just I graduated like on Friday and I was in Denver on Monday drove off you know all night got there. And that was a little different from the Emerald Cup at least with the Emerald Cup there’s like weeks leading up to this like Final judges meeting and like process of elimination. But we’re high times that you know, you get there and you’re in a house with all the judges all week and that’s just you know, it’s it’s really intensive. And there are you know, they all have rubrics, they all have these points systems. I think in general to that things do shine, things do come through certain profiles. I remember evaluating some of the some of the work of green chalk Farms is this one wonderful mark. Amazing grower that is not crazy well known but in the in the circles of breeders and growers that I’ve worked with and had on the show and especially in Northern California. He’s won breeder of the Year at the Emerald Cup High Times what’s his name is Mark and the farm is called Green shock. Greenshot gardens like
John Malanca 13:07
chocolate chalkboard, like so shocked, shocked, shocked.
Christopher Carr 13:13
Yeah, yeah, amazing, amazing group. He’s actually got roots in the Santa Ana hills, but then bought all this land in Mendocino. And there are some just amazing this is the one bittersweet double edged sword with legalization in the cost and the burdens of compliance. There’s just an amazing mom and pop operators that have deep roots like generations of all age, in observation and stewardship and part of it was because of prohibition they lived kind of a isolated lifestyle just on the Hill focusing on the flowers focusing on the soil focusing on the on the lines and the genetics but some of the varieties He has a passion orange guava, like the thinking of Cali pug profiles. Yeah, those the profile it tastes like that juice. He had a purple candy cane called DEVAR that was just so unique. And this is that era of like when Skittles first hit the market. So there’s all these candy varietals and still to this day, you know, runts and all that gelato stuff kind of dominates. I had the, you know, the more hype, you know, profiles for the younger kids. But Mark had this like refined nose and he had this like plant whisperer instincts. So those those relationships and those experiences to be privy and and to bear witness to that kind of passion, really inspired me as well and took me you know, took me to some really interesting places in laytonville in the Emerald triangle in Denver, and meeting a lot of colorful characters, but what we all had common ground was to, to take care of patients. And to be stewards of the plant. And hopefully we can continue that. In this post prop 64 era, things have changed quite a bit corporate Canada, you know, you’re talking about propagating this brave new world together but hopefully keeping some of the culture alive the culture of compassion of prop 215 of Dennis Perone and bow corral and Mike corral and Jack hairier
John Malanca 15:25
vow, it was valve part of the WAM group, right that you’re there. Yeah,
Christopher Carr 15:30
I was privileged to actually work with Wim Yeah, this time last year I grew an acre with Yeah, vary. And I was by far the, the most ambitious grow I’ve been a part of, I’ve been growing my whole life. But that was 7200 plants by myself. It was really ambitious. I would advise
John Malanca 15:51
people you know, and I was gonna say that’s stressful.
Christopher Carr 15:54
I mean, I have stressful Oh my gosh. A hard place to with the marine layer. Oh, boy.
John Malanca 16:01
Patients didn’t realize like my my family is in the farming business. Central Valley. They do honeydew and cantaloupe. I think maybe you and I talked about that. And people eat especially with cannabis too. People don’t think it’s just dirt seed water. Rich. You know, and it’s not and it’s it is, you know, for you to say 777,000 700,200 100
Christopher Carr 16:22
trays and each tray from seed to so each tray, they were female seeds. We were blessed by some amazing breeders. Yeah, because of the philanthropic work of wham and providing to the sick and the poor for so long. Pretty much for a whole lifetime. She’s been taking care of people that and she had her own. I had Mike corral on and he’s got, you know, her traumatic brain injury and her epilepsy and seizures. And that was really what like the inception of of that compassion collective and prop 215 I mean, was wham that insisted on collectives and grow your own. They
John Malanca 17:05
were they were one of the leaders. And so when I say pioneers, I mean clearly there they they were a pioneer in the in the dispensary world as well and giving back and so backup, you know, I used to go up north. And we talked about Lawrence Ringo. You know, he passed away, but he’s to go up there and see, just passion. You know, and passionate they and they for generation and generation. They’ve been passing that trade on from generation to generation. But I remember going in some of these grows both indoor and outdoor and use, you would see on the wall, you see all these recommendations, stapled to the
Christopher Carr 17:42
Yeah, the pooling Yeah. Talk about wild west was
outlaw ethos, but but also this beautiful sense of camaraderie and braderie and a pooling of coming together like you said that like there was literally Collective’s, yeah, of caregiving, and you were able to pool enough and that was that was kind of beautiful too is you know, you were able to really care for others that couldn’t grow. And that would enable your garden to be a little more abundant to kind of build up this nest egg to to become x what businesses are today. I mean, some brands were very much bootstrapped on a Santa Cruz businesses that we love and cherish a lot of like the big music venues, we’re all brown paper bag, collective growth avoided. And they reinvested funds to build out the catalyst, you know, music hall, or Moe’s alley, or some of the beautiful O’Neill
John Malanca 18:54
That is, yeah, nails are global name, you know, people. And my uncle Tony, who I was talking about over Hawaii, you know, he’s, he’s a, he knows. I mean, that was of the day. You know, he’s been over there since in Hawaii and 60. Anyway, that’s, that’s the part that I love being on your show that we were able to, because a lot of people like what what are you talking about, you know, recommendations stuck to the wall stapled to the wall. And that’s, that’s how it was your radio show? It’s key talking about that, you know, because you have a lot of guests. I was on there. And you’ve had a lot of guests from all different varieties in this industry. And so can you talk about that because I I really, I really think that my audience would benefit a lot from you know, learning but also enter being entertained on your radio show. It’s a one hour radio show. And can you talk about that as
Christopher Carr 19:50
well? Yeah, yeah, absolutely. We, you know, we’ve had from what, in the beginning, it was covering a lot of the farms the voice of the regenerative agriculture. little movement in Northern California but from there, kind of branching out into the cultural side into authors I’ve had a lot of authors I’m actually looking forward to speaking to Chris Bennett is written like nine books about the cannabis in the ancient world cannabis throughout Judeo Christian, you know, translations in ancient texts and the Dead Sea Scrolls and looking at the cultural roots, this is a plan that we’ve co evolved with for 1000s of years. And speaking to scholars, if I read something interesting, it’s been a privilege to have a platform to reach out and nine times out of 10 people hop on I’ve had wonderful experiences with Ed Rosenthal and amazing author, Jorge Cervantes, I recently had the editors of High Times Malcolm McKinnon was 25 years photo journalists for High Times traveled the world. He’s done all the, you know, cover shots of all these kinds of fun, you know, cultural icons like Snoop Dogg or Tommy Chong or, or Woody Harrelson or Willie Nelson. But beyond that, to speaking to patients, speaking to caregivers, nurses, physicians, researchers, policy advocates, it’s really interesting how cannabis, I think we all are at least one degree of separation with one that is use cannabis, of out of medical necessity, or that has a veteran in their life that has benefited from using plant medicine for their PTSD or or you know, someone that had a cancer diagnosis. And you know, either cannabis was helpful during the symptoms of them healing or have had someone with end of life or terminally ill loved ones that it helped in that passing a lot of work that Valerie corral does now is kind of that death doula role of being there and providing companionship but also relief through through cannabis. And so yeah, it’s very, it’s a very labor of love. A lot of my studies at the university was watching, taking things from theory to practice the community studies major was built from Angela Davis in the work of the Black Panther Party, and how to serve your community first and taking a lot of like philosophy or political activism. But But then that theory into practice, and I saw cannabis as a very misunderstood community that I was a part of that had done a lot for me, like I was this young, 18 year old musician, kid, and I was just just embraced by a community that was looking out for each other, but also looking to, to share and that spirit of compassion and spirit of healing and wellness. It’s an interesting time, we’re in this post COVID era where we’re very isolated. And the one thing I’ve learned as a musician touring with cannabis was always the cannabis farms that would take us in as a band, when we’re on the road, we would do a Seattle, the San Diego circuit, in a little short bus from LAX. And we would always meet farmers on the on the road that would take us in and then when we open for acts from Jamaica, say black guru, or Israel vibrations you would have or do you have people from like Spain or Mexico, you know, there might be a language barrier, but you have the international or if you have the circle, you have, you have that common ground. And so that’s a lot of what the ethos that goes into the show. And the show is very, I love how we’re doing this too. It’s very organic, it’s very authentic, it comes from the heart goes to the heart. You know, it’s it’s all walks of life, all ages, all backgrounds, we had this green rush, I think, in many ways, it’s still happening, but things have shifted quite a bit. And it’s been interesting to document that starting in 2015 and 2023, who I usually think of, you know, two months in the cannabis industry is like two years in any other industry, the amount of change the developments and innovations and, and just ships. And so going on, what eight years, it’s been a lot of ups and downs and a wild ride. But I’m grateful and in many ways it’s still the beginning.
John Malanca 24:26
It’s it’s good and bad. That’s the part that that’s frustrating. You know, I think a lot of people getting into this and I hope everyone does well in life whatever that well is their definition of well is. But the compassion I think is kind of faded away and it’s more the business side of it and you know, seeing, you know, like you firsthand, you know, it helping people and truly people needing it. I mean that’s how we were thrown into this Uh, you know, and the outcome was we hit a grand slam right out of the bat of, you know, right up first first bat Grand Slam, you know, given, you know, level was given two weeks to live, and 11 years later, he passes the old age, not cancer, and it’s just like, wow, so we’ve seen this plant work and, but I appreciate you coming on and sharing your passion. You know, you when we were on the radio, I didn’t, you know, I just saw your picture I didn’t get I didn’t get sued. And I did talk about one of my best friends Mike Hyde and his son cash. I’d was the first youngest first youngest legal medical cannabis patient in the United States. You guys, he and I people, I think we can be brothers. But you guys have the same school, the joy for living family, but also this plant, but also the beard. I can’t grow a beard. I went to a high school. I went to high school soccer game the other day, and there’s a high schooler, he had a bigger and bigger view of the EU. And I said, Man, I’m 56 and I still can’t grow up here.
You look great. And I appreciate it. And so for my audience, you know, please check out. Chris. Christopher. Sorry. Cannabis connection. Can you can you give you a radio call signs? Yes.
Christopher Carr 26:24
Yes, of course. Yeah.
Yeah, if you want to engage live, we’re live on Santa Cruz. voice.com, Fridays, five to six. I also do a live show on Thursdays on 89.3 FM K BCC, you got to when I was on? You were on the Santa Cruz voice cannabis can I do a music show but it’s kind of adjacent is called Earth church. So it’s we do talk shows, but we also play a lot of music as well. And so that’s live on the radio eight to 10 on Thursdays. And then at the period cannabis period connection on Instagram is a great way. I’ll put all that on here too. Yeah, or connect direct it can connect.org is our website. And absolutely, I’m just honored. Thanks for having me on. Thanks for keeping the the good, the good vibes going. I think that’s really what this this community needs in these changing sands and these wild developments and you know, someday we might have interstate commerce someday there’s a lot of hope still. And maybe we can see compassion programs. And I imagine when Sonoma is for the wine space cannabis will be in California cannabis will be for the rest of the nation. And there’s a lot of a lot of love and passion still going into this plant into this work into this community. It’s an honor to keep going, Well
John Malanca 27:46
honored to have you on man and nice to see the face and keep smiling and I appreciate your time and and allow me to to show you off to my audience as well. So, Christopher, thank you, Blessings to you and your family and your community as well as a John Malanca Be informed and be well and we’ll see you soon everyone. Have a great evening. Bye bye bye